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UAE merger creates world’s most valuable listed space company

Traffic on Fourth Street, Abu Dhabi. The Yahsat and Bayanat merger could help bring self-driving cars to the emirate Alamy via Reuters
Traffic on Fourth Street, Abu Dhabi. The Yahsat and Bayanat merger could help bring self-driving cars to the emirate
  • Bayanat and Yahsat to merge
  • Combined revenue $760m
  • ‘Unique offering’ of merged expertise

The world’s most valuable publicly listed space company has been created after shareholders of analytics provider Bayanat and “satellite solutions” company Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) agreed to a merger.

The deal will help to further Abu Dhabi’s ambitions to be at the centre of the drive towards autonomous vehicles.

The newly created Space42 has a combined revenue of AED2.8 billion ($760 million) and net income of AED639 million ($174 million), based on the latest financial results.

Bayanat is majority-owned by G42, the Abu Dhabi artificial intelligence enterprise, while Yahsat is a subsidiary of sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company.

“With the combined expertise of both businesses, Space42 brings a unique offering to the market, merging satellite communications, geospatial intelligence and AI to pioneer innovative solutions,” said Karim Sabbagh, managing director designate of the combined entity.

This includes Abu Dhabi’s plans to introduce self-driving vehicles to the emirates and the wider UAE. Bayanat has tested self-driving vehicles on Yas Island and Saadiyat Island.

In an interview with AGBI in November last year, CEO Hasan Al Hosani claimed Abu Dhabi would be one of the first cities in the world to introduce autonomous vehicles en masse.

“We will see some cities grow faster than other cities, but from Abu Dhabi’s perspective we are very confident that we will be one of the fastest cities to evolve and deploy large-scale autonomous cars very soon,” he said.

The UAE’s investments in space-related industries surpassed $6 billion in 2023, including satellite communications, Earth and space exploration, data transmission, satellite broadcasting and mobile satellite communications.

“The UAE continues to make major strides on a global scale to push the boundaries of this sector, foster economic growth, develop world-class talent, and advance scientific exploration,” said Mansoor Al Mansoori, chairman designate of Space42

The country also has prospects in space mining, space stations, sustainability and recycling in space, space tourism, manufacturing and space academies.

Earlier this year, Nasa and the UAE announced plans for the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre to provide an airlock for Lunar Gateway, the first space station that will orbit the moon.

The value of the Middle East space sector is expected to hit $75 billion by 2032 and trebled in 10 years to reach an estimated $25 billion in 2023, according to a report by Euroconsult.

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